North Dakota might not be the most scenic state in the nation, but our family was continuously on the go all the time we lived in Beulah. Our favorite recreation was days spent at the lake fishing. You might think lake fishing from shore is boring, but we seldom had that problem. When you’re out fishing with several kids aged five to ten years old it’s never quiet or peaceful.
One Sunday we arrived at the lake and all the kids wanted to get rigged, baited, and fishing immediately. Linda and I got them all situated and fishing. We managed to get Linda fishing, but my pole never got baited up. One kid or the other had some kind of a problem that required attention as the sun warmed up and we enjoyed the day. Our youngest son Jody had a new children’s Jebco fish pole with an enclosed spinning reel. We owned several of them through the years and had always had good luck with them. Jody, with the patience of most five year old boys, didn’t let the bait stay in one spot long enough to reach bottom before he was reeling in to cast again. There was a flaw in the reel on Jody’s new pole and the line was constantly tangled and knotted on the spool. I would get his line back in the water, check the other kids, start rigging my pole, and he would be hollering again because his reel wouldn’t work. After about four hours non stop, I told him to give me his pole. I gripped the four foot pole by the end, swung it like a baseball bat with a reel on the end, and threw it as far as possible into the lake. The pole would never tangle up again. I don’t know who hollered the most, Jody or Linda, when the big splash caught everybody’s attention. Jody recovered and shared my pole the rest of the day.
On another fishing trip we took our old ATC 90 three wheeler for the kids to ride. Jamie, our ten year old son, was riding and I cautioned him about riding too close to the vertical bank along the shoreline. If he kept riding on the edge and the bank collapsed he would end up in the lake ten feet away. Sure enough, an hour later we heard a couple clumps, and a splash as the ATC tumbled into the lake with Jamie. He stood up in shallow water, waved at me with a bewildered face, and said “The ATC , the ATC, get the ATC”. I didn’t even flinch as I told him “You’re the dummy that put it in the lake. Get your ass in there and get it back out.” It took him a while, but he wrestled the floating upside down machine back to shore. He hadn’t even had time to see if he was hurt or not, but he learned to fix his own mistake instead of hollering at Dad.
Thirty years later Jamie and Jody both laugh at these incidents……….Linda still can’t believe I threw Jody’s new pole in the lake.